J.R. Smith believes he has been 'blackballed' from NBA, as well as others

By , Audacy

J.R. Smith has had an impressive NBA career and seems to be doing well off the court — attending classes at North Carolina A&T and is a member of the school’s golf team.

But the 36-year-old does not believe his NBA career should be over just yet.

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In an interview with Complex Sports, Smith was asked if he believes he has been “blackballed” from the league which the former shooting guard said, “100 percent.”

“Anybody can sit here and tell you that that’s a fact,” Smith said. “You got those 30 teams, or the top three people on the 30 teams and exclude them — give me the four through 15th man…name one of them that’s better than me.”

Smith added it’s not just him he believes is being blackballed, either.

“I feel like it’s a whole genre that that happened to,” Smith said. “John Johnson’s obviously still got game, still can play. Jamal Crawford, still got game and still can play. Nick Young, still got game, still can play. Isaiah Thomas, still got game, still can play.”

Johnson, who is 41 years old, was actually given a 10-day contract by the Celtics last year and appeared in a game — his first since 2018 — after the team experienced a COVID outbreak.

But Johnson and Crawford are both north of 40. Young is 37 years old and has not played since 2019 while Thomas actually bounced around the Lakers, Mavericks and Hornets last year, but appeared in a total of 22 games.

Smith, a two-time NBA champion who last played six games with the Lakers in the 2019-20 season, often had his success on the court overshadowed by controversies both on and off the court.

Yet, he still had a successful 16-year career in the NBA and many players begin to reach the end of their careers by age 35, with the greats typically being the exception.

Smith clearly believes he can still play a role off the bench for a team, but his best days are certainly behind him. Perhaps a team may work him out and see what he has left in the tank, but for now it’s studying and golf for the former NBA star.

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